Wetenschap - 14 juni 2001

English Summary

As a result of the recently signed accord between Wageningen University and the Chinese Agricultural University, the student union WSO organised an evening last week to discuss the implications for education in Wageningen.

From 2003 about 100 Chinese BSc students will come to Wageningen each year. While Amnesty International was represented, and there was interest from the audience in the issue of whether Wageningen should be encouraging relations with China while the human relations situation there remains at least unclear, this subject was not addressed during the evening. The Dutch coordinator for the cooperation Theo Douma clarified: "The Dutch government has no specific policy on the matter and we do not differ on this. For us it is most important that academic freedom is guaranteed and students are free to say what they want." The general opinion was that cultural differences will need to be taken into account as the new students join the Dutch for courses: in China there is much less group work in education, and there is more respect for university professors.

Following the recent accord with the Chinese Agricultural University, Wageningen vice-chancellor Bert Speelman

has indicated that he is considering international cooperation agreements with a maximum of ten other universities outside Europe, to ensure that they actually come to something, instead of remaining at the level of signatures on paper. There is free traffic of students within European universities, but Speelman is also considering closer relations with the universities of Uppsala, Copenhagen, Hohenheim, Vienna and Aberdeen, with a view to setting up a European Masters degree and a 'Masterclass' in which students have the opportunity to receive classes from top researchers.

According to the recently published Student Monitor 2000 Wageningen students are among the most hard-working in the Netherlands.

On average they spend 37 hours a week studying, compared with the average 29 hours for other university students. Much of this time is spent on lectures, practicals and thesis writing, and little on self-study unlike students at other universities. Their hard work is rewarded however by the fact that they earn more study points than their colleagues elsewhere. The study, which was carried out for the Ministry of Education, also indicates that Wageningen students do less paid work than their counterparts in other universities, and on average are paid 200 guilders per month, half of what others earn. On the other hand, they do more voluntary work and sit on more organising committees.

Unfortunately they may be hard working, but a Wb interview with various female students shows that the Wageningen male student population is not the sexiest in the country.

They scored a lowly 5.2 on an erotic scale of 1 to 10. If your idea of attractive men is based on being close to nature, with woolly socks and long unwashed hair, you might find what you are looking for, but as one girl comments the Wageningen males could make more effort to improve their clothing, drink less beer and do more sport to get rid of those beer bellies. Apparently the better examples are to be found at the big Ceres parties, or at the salsa evenings organised by Cafe Vrijheid and Que Pasa.

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